Novak Djokovic just staked an indisputable claim to the title of the best player in tennis, which Roger Federer had wrestled away with a resurgent second half of 2012.
Djoker had already retaken his No. 1 ranking prior to the ATP World Tour Finals, but he and Federer were so close that he took the ranking due to Federer skipping the previous event.
In other words, his new claim to the ranking lacked legitimacy; it does not any longer.
On Monday, Djokovic took down Federer in the finals, 7-6 (6), 7-5, in what was the kind of performance that has made Nole so great over the last two years.
Djokovic fell behind 2-0 in both sets, only to show his steely reserve and amazing stamina to battle back and take the win. With that, he can enter the offseason as the unquestioned best player in tennis.
After this season, there is no sense discussing anyone outside of these two for this title. Andy Murray has changed the "Big Three" in tennis into a "Big Four," but he needs to display more consistency before challenging for this title, and Rafael Nadal's injuries have completely taken him out of the equation for the time being.
So, when it comes down to the argument between these two, this match was everything.
This was the fifth meeting, and the rubber match, between Djokovic and Federer on the year. Nole ends with a 3-2 advantage over Federer in head-to-head play.
Djokovic won the first two meetings, but Fed took the next two and left questions lingering that the resurgent Federer was too much for Djokovic to handle.
That is clearly not the case.
Both guys came into this tournament knowing it was the last of the year and ready to leave nothing on the court. Both looked spectacular and at the top of their game as they made their way to the final, and they both played well on Monday.
Djokovic was just better, and he made it clear that he is the man to beat next year.
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